Irish News

Wednesday 23 July 2014

2013: The year of extreme weather

From an icy spring to our sizzling summer

Greg Harkin

Published 26/12/2013|02:30

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Stormy weather at Buncrana pier in Inishowen, County Donegal.

IRELAND had a record-smashing year of weather with new limits set across the country -- but there is still no evidence of actual climate change, insist forecasters.

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Whilst the country basked in its best summer sunshine for almost two decades, a cooler and duller spring and milder autumn balanced out the year, official reports show.

Final figures to be released in the coming days will give an indicator of just how warm 2013 was compared to other years.

However, while everyone will remember the scorching summer and the mild December, there were also plenty of cold days with spring blooming late after an icy March.

SUMMER

"We had some great weather in the summer and there wasn't much rainfall and while it was good to see that, it wasn't an unusual year apart from that," said Met Eireann climatologist Aidan Murphy.

The coldest temperatures recorded in 2013 came on February 25, the lowest air temperature of --7.4°C at Castleconnell, Co Limerick. The lowest grass temperature was --13.4°C at Straide, Co Mayo.

But there were other extremes too, with a temperature of 15.7°C recorded in Ashford, Co Wicklow, in January, the highest there for a decade.

In March Dublin Airport reported a mean temperature of 3.1°C, its coldest March since the site opened in 1942. The majority of other stations reported it was the coldest March since station records began.

The weather station at Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, recorded an astonishing 27 days with ground frost that month.

The cold spell continued through April and into May, sparking a fodder crisis for farmers throughout the country.

Other figures show:

* Dublin Airport and Mullingar recorded lows of --5.6°C and --6.5°C respectively on April 6, their lowest April air minimum temperature since both stations opened in 1942 (71 years) and 1950 (63 years).

* April's lowest air minimum temperature of --7.3°C at Mountdillon on April 6, was the lowest April air minimum temperature recorded since 1988 (25 years).

* Almost all stations across the country reported that it was the coldest May since 1996 (17 years).

* Dublin Airport reported the most sunshine in June with 210.8 hours

* Belmullet had its sunniest June since 1995.

* Ardfert, Co Kerry, reached the highest temperature of the year at 30.3°C.

It was the warmest July on record at stations in the west, and in parts of Dublin, the south-west and midlands with up to 63 years of observations exceeded.

Valentia Observatory had a mean temperature of 17.3°C, the highest for July since the station records began in 1893 (120 years).

Nine stations reported heatwave conditions -- five days or more with temperatures over 25°C -- of varying lengths between July 7 to 13.

Most stations across the country reported drought conditions (15 consecutive days or more with less than 0.2mm of rain) between June 3 and 21, attributing the rainfall from thunderstorms between June 22 to 31 to the majority of their monthly rainfall totals.

While there was less sunshine in August, only Carlow had above average rainfall, all other areas reported up to 60pc less than average for the time of year.

It continued mild into the autumn, with lower than average rainfalls almost everywhere in September, October and November -- and much milder temperatures too.

Temperatures reach 23.9C at Carlow (Oak Park) on September 21, 21.1°C at Mountdillion on October 2 and 15.6C at Johnstown on November 11.

Malin Head produced the biggest wind gust of the year -- twice, hitting 69 knots (127km/hr) on separate days in February and March.

Mark Dunphy from meteotimes.net said the statistics for the year so far show 2013 to have featured many extremes which average out when the entire year's weather is looked at as a whole.

"There's no evidence of climate change but there is evidence of more extreme weather," he said.

"So many new records were set in 2013, yet it averaged itself out.

"For me the stand-out stories were the extended colder spring, the superb weather in July and just how dull it has been this autumn."

Irish Independent

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